Keeping Router bits sharp

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Forum topic by Wiley posted 02-23-2010 05:01 AM 1904 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wiley's profile


71 posts in 3026 days

02-23-2010 05:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question router bits sharp

Personally, I think my garage is built over the site of an ancient power tool burial ground. Or perhaps I have an infestation of workshop gremlins. I’ve advanced both of these theories to my friends at the local Rockler, and they say it’s more likely to be “operator error.” Whatever the cause, I can’t seem to make a router bit last more than a week of making box joints before it starts getting uncooperative and chewing up large chunks of wood. What are the “best practices” for being nice to your router bits and making them last?

-- "When you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight" - Inherit the Wind

12 replies so far

View ahock's profile


102 posts in 3319 days

#1 posted 02-23-2010 05:12 AM

-Keep them clean
-Take small bites
-Use the right speed
-If using consistently let them cool down

-- Andy, PA ~Finding satisfaction in creation

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3103 days

#2 posted 02-23-2010 05:15 AM

-hire shaman to appease spirits of deceased tools haunting said burial ground

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View williams's profile


53 posts in 3012 days

#3 posted 02-23-2010 05:19 AM

No expert, but all can think of.
1) pull the nails and screws out first. :-)
2) keep the heat down with smaller passes. Heat is enemy of bits.
3) Naturally, keep bottom of bit 1/8” above collet.
4) wet end grain for less tear out and may help with heat.
5) use right speed

-- William, Brighton, MI

View Greg Elam's profile

Greg Elam

29 posts in 3035 days

#4 posted 02-23-2010 05:31 AM

One other thing to keep in mind is if you have a fairly good quality bit some profiles can be sharpened. A fellow in my area will sharpen them for much less than the price of a new one.

-- Greg Elam - Berea, Kentucky

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3064 days

#5 posted 02-23-2010 06:09 AM

HSS or carbide?

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#6 posted 02-23-2010 06:14 AM

The suggestions above are very good regarding taking small bits and keeping them cool. I’ve had quite a few router bits that got dull very quickly and a few that seem to stand up to the test of time. There seems to be a definite correlation between the quality/price of the bit and how well it holds up. For what it is worth, I have found that Freud bits hold up the best for the long term.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Wiley's profile


71 posts in 3026 days

#7 posted 02-23-2010 06:18 AM

They’re carbide, made by Rockler. I’m a bit worried about getting them sharpened because I use them for box joints. How much smaller does sharpening generally make a straight bit?

-- "When you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight" - Inherit the Wind

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 3504 days

#8 posted 02-23-2010 06:46 AM

Freud router bits.
nuff said.

-- Router รจ ancora il mio nome.

View knotscott's profile (online now)


8008 posts in 3371 days

#9 posted 02-23-2010 02:25 PM

It might be time to consider an upgrade….Freud (as mentioned), Whiteside, Infinity, Eagle America, CMT, Amana, Katana….

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View bob101's profile


321 posts in 3445 days

#10 posted 02-23-2010 05:39 PM

keep them clean, and make small passes, on the sharpening note I use a flat folding diamond hone from lee valley tools for my router bits(carbide) all you need to do is make light passes on the flats of the bit(clean bit), and bob’s your uncle youre done, they usually end up sharper than when initialy purchased.

-- rob, ont,canada

View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3269 days

#11 posted 02-23-2010 06:01 PM

freud like he said ^ theyre eternal

-- M.K.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3064 days

#12 posted 02-23-2010 06:53 PM

Correct sharpening of a bit doesn’t remove material in a way that reduces the diameter of the bit. The operative word, of course, is “correct”. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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